In recent years, jewelry has predominantly been regarded as a woman’s fashion accessory; however, it has an incredibly rich history which dates all the way back to ancient times. Men have decorated themselves as a symbol of power, status, and personal style for decades. Detailed below is the evolution of men’s jewelry, including how styles and trends have changed.
If we rewind all the way back to ancient times, men’s jewelry was a fundamental part of a number of civilizations, including Rome, Mesopotamia, and Egypt. Men’s necklaces, rings, and bracelets were all commonplace and typically crafted from silver, gold, and gemstones. They were extremely elaborate pieces and often indicated social status. Those with extravagant jewelry tended to be the ones with the most power, authority, and wealth.
As time progressed to the Medieval era, men’s jewelery was dialled back in extravagance and became more religious and restrained. This meant that religious symbols, such as crosses, were often worn to express devotion and faith. Despite this, wealth was also conveyed via elaborate chains and brooches crafted from precious metals for nobles and kings.
Renaissance and Baroque Periods
True to the name of the Renaissance, this period saw the rebirth of extravagant men’s jewelry. Nobles and royal courts decorated themselves with simultaneously intricate and large jewelry pieces. These typically contained precious gemstones and often took the form of earrings, rings, and pendants. Men who wanted to make a bold fashion statement turned to these jewelry pieces for assistance.
The Victorian era saw a rise in personal and sentimental jewelry pieces being worn by men. This meant that signet rings and lockets skyrocketed in popularity due to men sporting their family crests and carrying keepsakes. Similarly, cufflinks were widely adopted to accessorize outfits, and these were usually engraved with monograms or decorated with gemstones.
Art Deco Period
The Art Deco period took place during the 1920s and 1930s, and this called for a shift in men’s jewelry trends. This involved bold colors, geometric shapes, and clean lines, which were typical of the time period. As a result, men often found themselves wearing dress watches, tie pins, and cufflinks, all of which boasted Art Deco designs. This also meant that materials, including enamel, jade, and onyx, were used.
Upon the mid-20th century rolling around, men’s jewelry became much more understated and minimalistic. As a result, bracelets and necklaces were typically crafted from leather bands, simple chains, or small charms and pendants. Similarly, the wristwatch became a go-to accessory. Ultimately, jewelry during this time was all about self-expression and functionality combined.
1970s and 1980s
Once again, boldness made an appearance in men’s jewelry in the 1970s and 1980s. This was predominantly down to the rise of punk and rock subcultures, which popularized skull motifs, stud earrings, and leather wristbands. Similarly, bracelets and gold chains became symbols of success and wealth.
Today, men’s jewelry is all about inclusivity and diversity. Leather, titanium, and stainless steel are some of the most popular materials for men’s rings, necklaces, and rings. Similarly, pendant necklaces, metal bands, and other sleek designs have become mainstream, in order to convey a modern and understated aesthetic.
All the way from ancient times to modern society, we’ve seen jewelry trends evolve massively and convey different meanings. Once upon a time, jewelry was a symbol of status and power, and while this is still somewhat true, it’s more of a fashion statement these days. Similarly, ever since the Victorian era, we’ve seen sentimental jewelry hold significance in society. There’s no telling where jewelry trends will go in the future.